Before beginning her workplace study, Ehrenreich identified the issues of low-wage work and poverty, and felt someone needed to further investigate how the working poor gets by. In order to be able to fully immerse herself in low-wage work, Barbara set rules for herself when beginning her workplace study. Barbara began this study in 1998, when almost 30% of workers made under $8.00/hour, and on average a worker needed to make at least $8.89 per hour in order ...
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...enreich encounters many issues of low-wage workers during her study including the difficulty of finding work, job security, transportation, lack of affordable and safe housing, as well as lack of affordable and quality healthcare. However, one advantage she had over her co-workers is that when things got hard or if she got frustrated she was able to quit and move on to another area for her study or quit her study altogether. Additionally, she could bend the rules that she set for herself or use emergency money that she had set aside for various reasons, such as housing and health concerns. For her co-workers, however, the life of low wage work is their every day life. Most low-wage workers do not have the freedom to walk out on the job or have emergency funds from their past jobs, especially because most of them are living paycheck to paycheck just to barely get by.
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